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Authorities minimize energy to Ukrainian cultural seminar in Vietnam’s capital — Radio Free Asia

Authorities in Vietnam’s capital minimize energy to a constructing internet hosting a Ukrainian cultural seminar over the weekend, sources mentioned Monday, within the newest bid by the one-party communist state to disrupt a Ukraine-related occasion since its ally Russia invaded the nation in February.

On July 16, a gaggle of Vietnamese intellectuals who had lived and studied in Ukraine held a seminar on Ukrainian tradition on the Sena Institute of Expertise Analysis in Hanoi. Representatives from the Ukrainian Embassy in Vietnam, together with Ukrainian Chargé d’Affaires Nataliya Zhynkina, and a number of other Ukrainian college students finding out in Hanoi have been in attendance.

The seminar started with a efficiency of Ukrainian music by a gaggle of visually-impaired college students from Hanoi’s Nguyen Dinh Chieu College, however the constructing’s electrical energy went off in the course of the present, which organizers and activists attributed to official malfeasance.

Regardless of the interruption, the seminar proceeded at nighttime, activist Dang Bich Phuong instructed RFA Vietnamese on Monday.

“It was inconvenient by way of consolation, however in any other case, the occasion went as deliberate. Individuals nonetheless learn poems, and a musician who was sitting within the nook nonetheless performed his guitar passionately within the darkness. It was so touching,” Phuong mentioned.

“I observed that most individuals accepted the scenario very calmly. Regardless of the darkness, the choir nonetheless sang and folks nonetheless clapped enthusiastically when poems have been learn, as others held up lights for them. I used to be very moved and emotional.”

Organizers and activists instructed RFA that previous to the occasion, a number of individuals who deliberate to attend reported being monitored by police or being blocked from going by authorities.

‘A cultural downside’

Nguyen Khac Mai, the director of the Minh Triet Analysis Middle and an organizer of the seminar, mentioned that Vietnamese intellectuals who studied in Ukraine earlier than happening to be leaders of their fields had requested to participate within the occasion to have a good time the nation the place they obtained their levels.

“These are individuals who had been nurtured and taught by Ukraine,” he mentioned. “Now that they’re profitable, they wish to collect and speak to 1 one other about their sentiments for Ukraine and its individuals.”

Mai mentioned that the seminar had additionally aimed to amplify an earlier assertion by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh that “Vietnam doesn’t select sides, however chooses justice.”

As a substitute, he mentioned, authorities tried to silence those that would converse in help of Ukraine.

“Normally, an influence failure is a technical downside. I believe this wasn’t a technical downside, however a cultural one. It’s very tough to repair a cultural downside as a result of it resides in a single’s coronary heart [and mind],” he mentioned.

“Some individuals agree that we must always be capable to conduct cultural actions in a pure and pleasant manner.  However others do not prefer it and [cut the electricity] due to that.”

In an emailed response to RFA’s questions in regards to the occasion, Ukrainian Chargé d’Affaires Nataliya Zhynkina mentioned that, regardless of the disruption, “I consider all of us felt that we have been surrounded by friendship.”

“We heard praises for the tradition, historical past, dwelling fashion and folks of Ukraine, in addition to phrases of comfort for the losses attributable to the Russian military and my compatriots who’re struggling,” she mentioned.

Zhynkina cited the phrases of the spouse of Ukraine’s Ambassador to Vietnam, who spoke on the finish of Saturday’s cultural occasion, to explain the sentiments of these in attendance.

“She mentioned, ‘Our hearts are aching for our nation day-after-day after we obtain horrifying information from residence. However have you learnt when the ache eases? That’s when it is shared by family members, Vietnamese individuals sharing the ache with Ukrainians.’”

Robust alliance

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Vietnam has repeatedly refused to sentence the battle and likewise objected to a U.S.-led effort to droop Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Earlier this month, Russia’s Minister of International Affairs Sergey Lavrov grew to become the primary Russian cupboard minister to go to Hanoi since Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a “particular navy operation” in opposition to Ukraine. His go to occurred as Hanoi and Moscow celebrated the tenth anniversary of the so-called “complete strategic partnership” that Vietnam has solid with solely three nations on this planet – the opposite two being China and India.

Moscow is Hanoi’s conventional ally and its greatest arms provider. Most Vietnamese weaponry utilized by the navy and air pressure was purchased from Russia, resulting in a future dependence on Russian upkeep and spare components, regardless of efforts to diversify arms provides.

The weekend’s seminar was not the primary Ukraine-related occasion in Hanoi to be blocked by authorities.

On March 5, police within the capital stopped individuals from leaving their properties to attend a charity occasion on the Ukrainian Embassy devoted to elevating funds for individuals in want in Ukraine. One other fundraising occasion deliberate for March 19 by a gaggle of Ukrainians dwelling in Hanoi was canceled as a consequence of police harassment, sources within the metropolis instructed RFA on the time.

Regardless of COVID-19, bilateral commerce between Vietnam and Russia reached U.S. $5.54 billion in 2021, a 14-percent improve from the earlier 12 months, in response to official statistics.

Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.



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